Mindfulness with your eating is an important topic, and today I’d like to focus on the overeating cycle. Let’s use someone while they’re at work as an example.
They’re in a meeting. It’s a stressful meeting and somebody has brought in donuts for everyone to share. In this example the person is not hungry. They’ve already had breakfast and their coffee, so they don’t need to eat. But the meeting is so stressful that they want the distraction and they want something pleasurable, so they choose a donut. That trigger is the why. Why are they eating when they’re not hungry? The trigger is brought on by stress, but it could also be boredom. Or it could be anger. Or it could be frustration.
When are they eating?
They’re eating because of external cues or something emotional. Having the presence of the food, having someone just bring in the donuts is part of it, but it’s also that their stress response is going onand they are looking for comfort.So they choose the donut. What’s the reason? The why you know. They are eating because they’re stressed. But what’s the reason?The reason is because it’s tempting or it’s a comfort food.Say, their favorite food is donuts. If they’re going to overeat,they tend to overeat with donuts. That’sone reason, but it’s also because in this example they’re feeling very stressed.
How do we eat when we’re eating through the overeating cycle? Mindlessly.
We’re eating quickly and sometimes secretly. For example, you might eat in the car. You can eat mindlessly in front of the television. Or back in your office. Sometimes people will even eat secretly and hide it in the trash so that their partner doesn’t see it.
When we eat mindlessly, we eat until the food’s gone or when we feel uncomfortable. Have you ever had a bag of chips or pretzels and brought them with you and sat in front of the TV and watched a movie or football game and then you look up and the bag’s gone? That’s what I’m talking about. A personal example for me was back in college when I was studying, I would overeat M&M’s. I was stressed and annoyed at the overwhelming amount of studying I had to do, so I would mindlessly keep grabbing a couple more M&Ms and then I’d look up and realize that I’d eaten the whole bag. It can be easy to do.
The excess food is stored. When we think about eating for fuel, analyzing that this is how much food I need, because I’m going to exercise later, junk food is not what we normally crave. Or if we consider what we eat would help us feel good or full or let us sleep well tonight, we would have tendency to choose something healthy and nourishing. If you’re eating emotionally to try to and relieve something like stress, you’re going to crave the saltiest, fattiest, sweetest type of foods.
I hope this has been helpful. If anybody has any questions or any comments please leave those below and then the next topic I’m going to talk about is the restrictive eating cycle.